Kesteven Ladies face their Demons
Doncaster Demons 22
Kesteven Ladies 22
Kesteven Ladies, competing in their first season in the league, travelled to third placed Doncaster on Sunday following a three-week hiatus due to weather conditions.
A bright, blustery and sunny afternoon provided the backdrop for a hugely entertaining game of rugby which ended in a hard fought draw, which was particularly pleasing for the travelling side who were fielding debutantes in Nellie Davies and Millie Warren as well as welcoming back squad skipper Sarah Jane Goss who was returning for her first game of the season.
Doncaster were fast out of the blocks following a spilt catch at kick-off and immediately demonstrated their game plan with waves of big forwards carrying hard from the base of a succession of rucks.
Despite frantic defence, their weight advantage told and an early score followed soon afterwards.
Kesteven struggled to see much of the ball in the early exchanges and Doncaster continued their effective carries to double their advantage after 15 minutes.
What followed was a testament to the visitors' determination as the Black Army fought back with four unanswered tries of their own, with Lydia Turnbull showing devastating pace in the back line, following a Tamzin Keenlyside pass, leaving defenders grasping at thin air as she scorched over.
The next over the try line was winger Tilly Hall who benefited from several forward runs, found some space and sneaked over in the corner to put Ks within two points of the Demons just before half time.
Kesteven continued their good form and found success in a running game of their own, with Beth Toone and Jade Sheardown particularly prominent with ball in hand. The latter crashed over the try line for a splendid score, closely followed by the dancing feet of Kerri Arlando to complete the scoring for a bonus point try.
With 10 minutes remaining and facing an eight-point deficit, Doncaster’s bruising ball carrying continued, briefly but spectacularly halted by Mille Warren’s first act as a senior player, which was to tackle a Demon so low and so hard that both teams nearly stopped in their tracks to applaud.
The pressure told as a loose Kesteven kick was run back for a try, and in the final exchange of the match Doncaster drew level, to their relief, following a string of technical infringements which the Yorkshire Society referee did very well to spot.
All in all, a tremendous performance from both sides and a wonderful advertisement for the Women’s game.
Kesteven's squad comprised of Megan Alderton, Kerri Arlando, Amy Brumhead, Nellie Davies, Hannah Dolby, Emma Gooden, Sarah Jane Goss, Tilly Hall, Ruth Holmes, Gwen James, Tamzin Keenlyside, Zoe Osborn, Jade Sheardown, Beckie Thirtle, Beth Toone, Lydia Turnbull, Molly Walker and Millie Warren.